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Organizations that seek to gain competitive advantage through employees must be able to manage their performance. A 360-degree feedback process is a popular means of managing and improving organizational performance. This method means a person receives feedback from a full circle of other people who work around him or her, which includes peers, subordinates, supervisor and even themselves (Atwater & Brett, 2006). The 360-degree approach recognizes that little change can be expected without feedback, and that different constituencies are a source of rich and useful information to help managers guide their behavior.
In a traditional performance evaluation, such as supervisor-subordinate, the supervisor tends to look at a person’s performance from an evaluative viewpoint. In 360-degree reviews, the purpose is more from a feedback viewpoint, which can help the organization to increase or gain competitive advantages by providing feedback to leaders and managers.
For instance, a subordinate’s perspective likely will be distinctly different from that of the supervisor. Furthermore, Research has shown that 360-degree feedback can enhance communications and performance (Bernardin & Beatty, 1987).
Because it gives a sense to employees that their opinions had been actively sought and heard, which ultimately led to a more open and communicative environment (Carson, 2006). However, misuse of the 360-degree feedback, can lead to hurt feelings, increased anxiety, and even loss of key personnel (Carlson, 2006). What’s more, preparation and implementation of 360-degree feedback is costly as investing time and money.
And the process may generate tension between the manager and those who provide ratings (Hautaluoma, et al, 1992).
Further, it may set up potential conflict by highlighting the need to be “different things to different people”. As a result, negative information becomes more powerful and difficult to deny, especially when raters agree; and easy to distort or perceive selectively, especially when raters disagree. In conclusion, regarding to the 360-degree feedback, how it can be used to add great value to organizational effectiveness and development, depends very much on the organizational culture how you implement it and how you can use the results.
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